Hand-rearing orphan guinea pig – A turn for the worse

Our little Destiny, 4 day-old, was going well, taking her milk nicely and snoozing near her heat pad most of the time. She also started nibbling on hay and grass mix.


On Thursday afternoon, she took a turn for the worse as was found very flat, not moving much when about to give her 2-hourly feed. Straight away she was put under oxygen and fluids were given to her as we suspected her to be dehydrated – very hard to know when they are so little. Five to ten minutes later she was already brighter but was pawing at her mouth and making weird head movement (over-extending her head back). We had a look in her mouth as we thought she might have had something caught into her throat but nothing could be seen. We decided to take a quick x-ray and look for any presence of gas. There was quite a big amount of gas present in her stomach. We assumed that she was acting like that as she might be uncomfortable with bloat and nauseous. We gave her a drug to decrease nausea but also increase gut motility and infacol to deal with the bloat.

Overnight she was kind of stable but still cool to touch and would not take much milk or water in but we had to keep force-feeding her so her gut would keep moving and she could pass the gas. We think she probably got dehydrated as would only drink milk and had a warm heat pad at all time – so we decided to add 0.5ml of water to be given to her between meals so to keep her hydration under control.

In the middle of the night, she was also found shivering, lying on her side. She was also very cold so had to warm her in the palms of my hands overnight – body warmth is sometimes quicker at warming a little animal. We thought at this stage that it all did not look very good.IMG_2481

Destiny is a strong little pup and made it through! She is now 7 day-old, weighing 85g and has a veracious appetite. We are still feeding her 2-3ml every 2 hours and she will not let go of the syringe. She is also closely monitored as we do not want any other relapses. But she seems to be doing fantastically!


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